NEW research has shown that people who drive as part of their jobs take significantly more risks behind the wheel than the rest of the population. The research was conducted on behalf of Brake, the road safety charity, and Direct Line Insurance.
Over 1200 ‘at work’ drivers were questioned about their driving practices.
- 31% said they sent texts while driving
- 17% admitted to shaving or applying make-up
- 76% said they drove at 35mph or more in 30mph zones
Government stats show that 30% of all journeys on UK roads are made by at work drivers and that they are 30-40% more likely to be involved in accidents than others. The result is that every week 10 people are killed and 100 injured on UK roads in accidents involving those who are driving while at work.
Julie Townsend, Brake’s deputy chief executive, said:
“It is appalling that so many people who drive in a professional capacity are taking such horrendous risks. We are urging all employers to ensure they have comprehensive safe driving policies in place and that staff know the importance of not speeding or driving while distracted.”
Matt Owen, spokesperson for Direct Line, said:
“Those who drive as part of their job seem to take greater risks whilst at the wheel than the average driver……the risks they are taking with their lives and the lives of others is substantial. What’s more,….. if caught the consequences could mean the risks they are taking with lives is also risking their livelihood.”
Employers have a duty of care to minimise the risks employees face and pose to others while driving at work. The responsibility is the same whether it’s a commercial vehicle, a company car, or the employee’s own vehicle being used for work. Organisations who manage road risk effectively often see big reductions in insurance costs and benefits to staff morale, as well as improving their safety records.
Brake says that those responsible for business van management should implement a safe driving policy that includes:
- training and educating drivers to put safety first and not take risks;
- planning journeys carefully, including reviewing the need to make journeys in the first place;
- monitoring drivers, crashes and near-misses to address specific risks and problems;
- implementing a ban on distractions while driving, such as using mobile phones and eating at the wheel;
- and careful monitoring of drivers’ welfare, to ensure they are fit to drive.